Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to all the members of the INDU committee for allowing me to appear today to speak on my private member's bill, Bill C-244, an act to amend the Copyright Act for the purpose of diagnosis, maintenance and repair.
It would be my honour to see this bill passed unanimously in the House. I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who supported this bill and allowed it to be discussed and studied here today in the standing committee.
This bill was previously tabled in the last Parliament by the member from Cambridge, who is now the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of National Defence. I'd like to also take this opportunity to thank him for his work.
It's important to recognize the significance of this bill and understand the potential for it to benefit all consumers across Canada. I cannot stress enough the impact this bill will have for Canadians, consumers and our environment.
The Copyright Act as it stands today is being interpreted in areas beyond its scope. Bill C-244 addresses the concerns that are becoming more frequent in today's world. We are seeing more digital products integrated into our daily lives and relied upon for everyday services. At the same time, the actual lifespan of electronics has been reduced dramatically with planned obsolescence, leading to more cost for consumers and more burden to our environment.
Copyright exists to protect the intellectual property and the original work of its creator, not to prevent the right to repair even when nothing is being copied or distributed. The current Copyright Act contains certain clauses that make it either impossible or extremely difficult for anyone to legally repair a product, or else these clauses prevent any repairs from happening at all. As a result, Canadians are not able to seek repair alternatives and face the dilemma of throwing out their new purchase because of a small malfunction or minor damage to a product.
As technology is becoming more sophisticated, technological protection measures, or TPMs, usually in the form of a technical restriction, are built in as a barrier to prevent access to the original work. TPMs may be a digital lock, an encryption or even a custom screw. These can be found in many products, such as heavy machinery from tractors to electric scooters and everyday devices from mobile phones to health devices that save human lives. These are just a few examples of the many products that have a TPM incorporated.
There are certain exemptions, such as the Canadian Automotive Service Information Standard, which is a voluntary agreement reached in 2009 in the automotive industry that ensures that automakers and aftermarket providers provide access to service and repair information to repair facilities across Canada.
Any circumvention of a TPM is prohibited and would be considered illegal. This bill ensures that any circumvention for the sole purpose of diagnosing, maintaining and repairing a product will not violate the Copyright Act.
In order to address the limitations of the Copyright Act in Canada now, Bill C-244 would change the definition of a technological protection measure by applying it to the software and computer programs within the product, allowing consumers to circumvent a TPM for the sole purposes of diagnosis, maintenance and repair. This gives back control to our Canadian consumers.
This bill is important because it is one part of the federal responsibility that must be addressed before any right-to-repair legislation exists across Canada. Bill C-244 does not rewrite the Copyright Act, but without this change, any other legislation or regulatory changes will not have their desired effect and TPMs could not be bypassed for repair. This means that anyone who decides to circumvent a TPM now could face legal consequences.
It is time to give a measure of control back to Canadians. Canadians should have the right to repair. With this, we're able to promote a greener future by reducing waste to our landfills and extending the lifespan of a product.
I look forward to hearing your comments and to answering any questions you might have.
I'm very happy to discuss any amendments moving forward to prevent unintended consequences and to strengthen the sustainability and efficacy of the legislation.